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Haven't started and getting panicked


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I'm applying for molecular medicine PhD programs. Most of the schools I'm applying for have Dec. 1st as a deadline. I haven't started anything in the application process and I'm getting panicked. 


1- My GRE exam will be in Nov. 13, means the results would be a couple of some time around Nov. 28th if not later. 

2- I'm still writing my personal statement and other essays. I think I'll be ready by Nov. 15th. 

3- I have two recommenders so far, one of them will be away the the last two weeks of Nov. he asked me for a draft and I did. But he doesn't have the list of programs I'm applying for, neither the GPA, GRE scores. 

4- I haven't even opened online accounts. 

5- My transcript is not ready yet, It will be sent to me by the end of this month. 



Where should I start? 

Should I start by opening online account although I don't have any materials to provide yet. 

Should I start by contacting the recommenders and send them the list of programs I'm applying for. 


Please help. 



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Relax, there is still plenty of time. 

If you already know what schools you are applying to, start by contacting your recommenders and giving them all the relevant information (list of schools, deadlines, any other information they ask for -- usually it helps to give them a version of your SOP, a CV if you have it, and any writing samples you'll submit). They might also appreciate getting a short summary from you about why you chose each school, in particular the POIs you'd like to work with, and any other important aspects of your fit with each program. If you don't have all of this information, you should still contact them with at least the list of schools and deadlines, and say you'll send along materials to help them write you a stronger letter at a later date. 

Then open your online account for all the schools. Create a spreadsheet to keep such information as your username and password for each school, the submission deadline, all required materials, word/page limits, and any other relevant information. It can get confusing very fast. Click through the applications to get a sense of what they ask of you. Some will have lots of short essay questions that can be time consuming to write. Some will only allow you to send letter prompts to recommenders after you submit the entire application. Some will suddenly ask for some unexpected document, or have a page/word limit for the SOP that wasn't advertised on the department website. You don't want to be caught off guard at the last minute, so make sure you know all these things. If you can, and after you've asked your recommenders for letters, fill in their contact info and issue them the prompts to write your letters. Let them know they should expect the prompts, so you have time to deal with it if any email gets lost. Then just start going through the applications one by one, starting with the ones with the earliest deadlines. There are lots of things you can begin to fill out before you have final versions of your SOP or your GRE scores. 

Good luck! 

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